Last month, I wrote about United hiring Richard Nunn as the new CEO of MileagePlus, saying,
What can possibly go wrong?”
Well it didn’t take long at all.
On May 1st while I was exploring Hiroshima, I missed that DDF member bmw posted that United hiked saver award rates to Europe by some 33%, up to 40K-44K miles.
About a week after that rates to fly on Air Canada between the US and Canada went up to 16.5K miles in coach and 33K miles in business class.
And yesterday, business class class to Europe climbed by 33% from 60K to 80K on United and up to 88K on partner airlines.
I can’t wait to see what’s coming next week.
The slow drip of devaluations can take a play out of the Comcast playbook of continually adding new fees. Presumably that’s what penny pinching United CEO Scott Kirby, who came over from “enhancing” American and previously USAirways from American West, brought him in to do to MileagePlus? Kirby’s Kutbacks have become notorious. And after all, Delta has been devaluing their miles for years and reaping huge profits as people continue to spend on their credit cards.
The United chart makes no sense as it stands now.
Business class saver awards to Europe cost more than to the Middle East, Africa, or Asia. It won’t stay that way for long.
If you have United miles and can book a trip, you’ll want to do that now before they’re inevitably devalued. You can always cancel for a refund any time before departure if the trip doesn’t pan out.
If you do have airline cards, stop using them and send the airlines the only message they’ll understand, the one that hurts their bottom line. I open airline cards for signup bonus and keep them around for their benefits, but there’s rarely a good reason to use them. Instead, you should use bank card combos that earn much more, are significantly more flexible, and shield against airline devaluations.
Of course the much bigger devaluation post-COVID is that there are fewer saver awards available across the board and that standard award pricing continues to climb to absurd levels, but that’s the case for all airlines. Using hybrid points from bank cards help shield against that devaluation as well.
Here is the current state of United’s hidden award chart:
30K-35K Premium Business
35K-40K Premium Business
50K-60K Premium Business
|Northern South America
|Southern South America
|Japan and Oceania
|Australia and New Zealand
Where will you book before the next devaluation and how long do you think it will be before pricing in other regions goes up as well?